While the rest of Alabama was watching the Iron Bowl on Saturday, I was busily wrapping Christmas books for our annual Christmas book basket. I didn’t get them all wrapped, but I wrapped enough of the 55+ (!!!) Christmas picture books we own to get us started. (Even after a late-night wrapping session while watching Call the Midwife, I’m still not through! I’m thinking about commissioning Lulu with the task of whipping up some cloth bags to use as wrapping for future Christmases!) All three of my big kids got to open a book on Monday, and I think we’ll continue with that through the season. We don’t usually open books on the weekends, and I’m thinking that this year we’ll miss on Wednesdays, too, since we’re out of our routine with Community Bible Study and piano lessons. That means there will be plenty of books to go around! Although wrapping gifts is not my activity of choice, doing all this wrapping is worth it when I remember again how excited we all are each morning to see what the day’s gifts will be. The warmth and enjoyment we get from piling up on the sofa together to read each child’s chosen book is one of my favorite things, if not my very favorite thing, of all our Christmas traditions. I don’t do Elf on the Shelf; I don’t do an Advent calendar; I don’t even have up a single Christmas tree yet; but books, I can do.
I’ve never actually listed the contents of our book basket here at Hope Is the Word, although I have written a big Christmas books post or two in the past. I’m going to make this post a sticky post and add the titles as we unwrap them. I’ll also try to fill in with some reviews of books yet un-reviewed here, and I’ll link back to the ones I’ve already reviewed.
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado–This one, a family favorite, is about a crippled lamb named Joshua who learns that “God has a special place for those who feel left out.”
The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri–This one has the loud and raucous donkey as the hero of the stable.
Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes–This collection of related poems tells the Nativity story from the viewpoints of all who were there.
Who Is Coming To Our House? by Joseph Slate–My favorite board book for the baby/toddler/preschooler crowd.
Traditional Christmas stories based on legends or songs:
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend–This one recounts the Saint Nicholas story with Nicholas as the pastor of his village “by the turquoise sea.” The illustrations in this one are strikingly beautiful.
The Story of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali–This one starts out with Nicholas as a youth, so it probably appeals a little more to children.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long–A beautiful and lush I-Spy type book. Not to be missed!
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Pop-Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda–If you’ve never seen one of Robert Sabuda‘s pop-up books, you’re missing out.
The True Meaning of Christmas
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis–Annika longs to be the one to find the almond in the family’s traditional Swedish rice pudding this year and thus secure her wish for a horse, but she learns some things are more important than having your wishes granted.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck–A teenager learns the meaning of sacrificial love in this very touching tale.
Miscellaneous Christmas tales, from silly to serious
Arthur’s Christmas by Marc Brown–Arthur tries to figure out what sort of gift Santa might like. Sister D.W. helps him out, with very funny results.
Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve by Walter Wick–I’m convinced there is some redeeming educational value to these I-Spy books. This one’s fun.
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon–This one is a fictionalized account of the Christmas Truce of 1914.
Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury –This lovely book contains seven of Brett’s holiday stories:
- The Mitten
- The Wild Christmas Reindeer
- Trouble with Trolls
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- The Hat
- Christmas Trolls
- The Night Before Christmas
Home for Christmas by Jan Brett–A story about a mischievous troll named Rollo, this story is classic Jan Brett, with amazingly detailed illustrations.